Autokey Cipher

Key
Extending

Autokey Cipher is a cipher that incorporates the message (the plaintext) into the key. The key is generated from the message in some automated fashion, sometimes by selecting certain letters from the text or, more commonly, by adding a short primer key to the front of the message.

There are two forms of autokey cipher: key-autokey and text-autokey ciphers. A key-autokey cipher uses previous members of the keystream to determine the next element in the keystream. A text-autokey uses the previous message text to determine the next element in the keystream.

This cipher was invented in 1586 by Blaise de Vigenère with a reciprocal table of ten alphabets. Vigenère's version used an agreed-upon letter of the alphabet as a primer, making the key by writing down that letter and then the rest of the message.

More popular autokeys use a tabula recta, a square with 26 copies of the alphabet, the first line starting with 'A', the next line starting with 'B' etc. Instead of a single letter, a short agreed-upon keyword is used, and the key is generated by writing down the primer and then the rest of the message, as in Vigenère's version. To encrypt a plaintext, the row with the first letter of the message and the column with the first letter of the key are located. The letter in which the row and the column cross is the ciphertext letter.[Wikipedia]

How it works?

The Autokey cipher uses the following tableau (the 'tabula recta') to encipher the plaintext:

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
    ---------------------------------------------------
A   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
B   B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A
C   C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B
D   D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C
E   E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D
F   F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E
G   G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F
H   H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G
I   I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H
J   J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I
K   K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J
L   L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K
M   M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L
N   N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M
O   O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N
P   P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O
Q   Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P
R   R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q
S   S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R
T   T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S
U   U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T
V   V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U
W   W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V
X   X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W
Y   Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X
Z   Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y

To encipher a message, place the keyword (e.g. 'FORTIFICATION') above the plaintext. Once all of the key characters have been written, start writing the plaintext as the key:

FORTIFICATIONDEFENDTHEEASTWA
DEFENDTHEEASTWALLOFTHECASTLE

Now we take the letter we will be encoding, 'D', and find it on the first column on the tableau. Then, we move along the 'D' row of the tableau until we come to the column with the 'F' at the top (The 'F' is the keyword letter for the first 'D'), the intersection is our ciphertext character, 'I'.

So, the ciphertext for the above plaintext is:

FORTIFICATIONDEFENDTHEEASTWA
DEFENDTHEEASTWALLOFTHECASTLE
ISWXVIBJEXIGGZEQPBIMOIGAKMHE


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